FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
WEDNESDAY 16TH MARCH, 2005
CHARLTON ATHLETIC 2 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Referee:- Mr. C. Foy
Charlton (4-5-1):- Kiely; Young, El Karkouri, Perry, Hreidarsson; Rommedahl (sub Johansson, 52), Holland (Capt.), Murphy, Konchesky, Thomas (sub Fish, 75); Bartlett (sub Euell, 62)
Subs not used:- Andersen; Jeffers
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Pamarot (sub Kelly, 86), King (Capt.), Gardner, Edman; Reid, Brown, Carrick (sub Davis, 70), Ziegler (sub Defoe, 60); Keane, Kanoute
Subs not used:- Cerny; Atouba
Booked:- Pamarot, Edman, Brown, Reid
Spurs fans’ hopes and optimistic thoughts were dashed for the second time in 4 days, as Martin Jol’s men fell to their third consecutive defeat, and yet another London Derby defeat. Despite the array of talent at their disposal, Spurs have failed to score a single goal in this three-match run. Spurs fans are used to such frustration of course, but this game was a great chance to assert a claim for a UEFA Cup place, but it was the well-organised home side that took the spoils, climbing above Middlesbrough to 7th place. Alan Curbishley’s team now have a further two consecutive home games against West Brom and Manchester City, in which they should open a gap between themselves and the fourth best team in London – the once mighty Tottenham Hotspur.
We’re getting used to rotation now, but maybe Spurs need to play for a while with a settled “First Team”. Tonight found Erik Edman at left back, with Ziegler in front of him, and Andy Reid rather mysteriously deployed on the right, with nary a sign of Simon Davies, even on the bench. Sean Davis’s presence on the bench was very welcome, as was his replacement of the ineffective Carrick after 70 minutes. Jermain Defoe played second fiddle tonight, as Keane and Kanoute started, both of whom had excellent chances to score in a first half when Spurs had the better of the play overall, but just could not manage to bother Dean Kiely significantly.
Charlton played with Bartlett as a lone striker, but supported from the flanks by ex-Arsenal youngster Jerome Thomas, and Dennis Rommedahl, with Matt Holland, Danny Murphy, and Paul Konchesky inside them. Predictably, Murphy was booed by the Spurs fans, for rejecting them last summer, as was Jermain Defoe by the home fans, for his sin of leaving Charlton as a youth player for West Ham.
Maybe part of Spurs problem is a lack of athleticism, but certainly a big part of it is that extra piece of desire. Carrick was bottling out of challenges in the middle, whereas Michael Brown showed him how to lead a charge from the midfield, and how to tackle. Call me biased if you like, but there were plenty of voices around me criticising Carrick’s efforts. Charlton, with their set up, were only too willing to get men behind the ball after an early lead out of the blue, but they also looked more threatening than Spurs when they broke forward in the second half. In the end, Spurs could not even take the satisfaction of losing only by Thomas’s 4th minute wonder shot, as Danny Murphy stepped up to complete another night of woe with an 85th minute free kick.
Thomas’s goal came from a Konchesky pass in the middle. Thomas twisted back inside the challenge of Pamarot (why do so many Spurs fans get his name wrong and say “Paramot”?), before hitting a beautiful un-stoppable shot into the top left corner. Within a minute, Andy Reid had floated in a great cross to the near post, where Keane stooped to head, but wide of the goal by at least a yard. Fredi Kanoute had an even better chance after 13 minutes. Brown had made a great run from the half way line, carrying the ball, before spreading it to Reid, still on the right. Reid’s ball fell just in front of Kanoute, who somehow failed to hit a shot, only 8 yards out. Keane hit a shot on target from just outside the box, and Brown hit one wide.
Spurs’ best move came after 21 minutes, when after good work, Ziegler passed inside to Robbie Keane, who threaded the ball into the area for Kanoute, who again just could not get a strike on the ball. Then Carrick failed to commit himself to a loose ball, leading to a break by Rommedahl, who made a great run from half way, but saw his shot deflected for a corner. Ziegler and Keane combined again to set up Kanoute, whose shot rebounded to Reid, who skied an effort from an angle on the right.
The game became very disjointed after the break, with Charlton players dropping like nine-pins, and spending ages on the ground, sometimes in feigned agony. Their strategy worked as only 4 minutes of added time were allowed when surely there should have been double that amount. The away fans became very unhappy about the referee’s apparent softness towards the home side, and there was very little flow to the second half. Ziegler was replaced by Defoe on the hour, when Reid switched to the left, and Kanoute tended towards the right hand of the three man strike force.
Reid’s long ball from deep was dummied by Keane and Kanoute had another great chance which he failed to take, seeing yet another shot blocked from the right side of the area. Reid then saw his curled free kick headed off the line by Bartlett of all people, in the 67th minute. The killer goal came after an alleged offence by Pamarot upon Hreidarsson on the left edge of the box. Murphy stepped up and curled his shot just inside the right side of Robinson’s goal off the post, to consummate Spurs depression.
Spurs simply MUST find their goal-scoring boots on Saturday, when we entertain Stuart Pearce’s fired-up Manchester City, who could also overtake us with a win. That is a prospect I do not want to contemplate over the forthcoming two-week Easter break!
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